Every year, 82 people are killed in speed-related crashes province-wide, making speed the number one cause of car crash fatalities in B.C. The Southern Interior averages the highest number of speed-related fatalities, with 28 people killed each year due to excessive speed. The Lower Mainland sees an average of 26 deaths per year, Vancouver Island averages 10, and North Central B.C. sees 19 people, on average, killed every year due to speed.
That’s why ICBC, government, and police are launching a new month-long campaign focusing on speed and urging drivers to slow down. Speed includes unsafe speed, exceeding the speed limit, excessive speed over 40km/h, and driving too fast for conditions.
“Driving over the speed limit really doesn’t get you there any faster, and instead increases your chances of crashing,” says Lindsay Matthews, ICBC’s vice-president, public affairs. “When you slow down you see more of the road and it gives you more time to react to the unexpected. We can all do our part by slowing down to make roads safer and save lives.”
Speeding is a concern for all road users, not just drivers. Research shows that if a pedestrian is hit by a passenger vehicle at 40 km/h, 90 per cent of pedestrians would survive. However, that number drops to a 50 per cent survival rate if the collision occurs at 80 km/h.
“Speeding, failing to yield and unsafe lane changes are high-risk driving behaviours that put everyone at risk,” says Chief Constable Neil Dubord, Chair of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee. “Drivers have to be responsible for their actions, pay attention and focus on driving. Police will be out in full force across the province this month looking for drivers who feel the rules don’t apply to them.”
Police will be targeting speeders during May, and Speed Watch volunteers will also be set up in B.C. communities to remind drivers of their speed. ICBC is also working with government to upgrade 35 existing intersection safety cameras to identify and ticket speeding drivers.